Thinking of buying a used mini... need recommendations...

davidg4781

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Oct 28, 2006
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Alice, TX
I'm thinking of selling my MBP to my mom and buying either a used MBP or maybe a mini. I already have a ACD (older one) and a Magic Mouse, so I'm set with that. I also don't want to spend too much, but definitely need one that'll run El Capitan.

Are there any models I should try to look for or maybe stay away from? On the front page I saw a few 2011 models with logic board issues. Should I stay away from these or is this just a coincidence? I don't do any heavy lifting with it but plan to do some video importing/editing in the near future (I've been saying that since 2006!!). I'm also not 100% set on getting a desktop since I've been using a MacBook since 2006 but I certainly don't want to buy a MBP now. I have a feeling the next model is going to have a lot of new features like USB-C.
 

Gav2k

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Jul 24, 2009
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I have a 2011 for the dgpu but the best model is the 2012 model and it's the most sought after.
 

SpacemanSpiffed

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Mar 27, 2013
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Pacific NW
My #1 question would be "Do you need it to portable, like your MBP was?" or can you use it from a single location, where you ACD is. If the former, I'd consider a MacBook Air until such time you'd sell it for a future MBP. If the latter, a Mini makes a stronger bang for the buck case. If you go the mine route, a refurb 2012, even the base i5 2.5, is going to be very good for what you want to do, and you can upgrade it at your own pace (internal SSD, Thunderbolt external drives, more RAM). Either way, Head over to refurb.me set up alerts for the models that looks best for the price (usually the base configs for minis).

One thing: your ACD is a newer thunderbolt model, right? If not, and it's the older one, I assume you already have a display port to dual-link adapter.
 

davidg4781

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Oct 28, 2006
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I don't need it to be portable. Other than using it on the couch or kitchen table, I have no absolute need for portability.

The 2012 model is the last that's upgradeable, right? Do those every come up on Apple's certified site?

And the ACD is 20". Do I need a dual-link adaptor? I'm currently using it on a Power Mac G5 with a standard looking DVI cable, but previously used it with a mDP>DVI with my MBP.
 

SpacemanSpiffed

macrumors regular
Mar 27, 2013
176
253
Pacific NW
I don't need it to be portable. Other than using it on the couch or kitchen table, I have no absolute need for portability.

The 2012 model is the last that's upgradeable, right? Do those every come up on Apple's certified site?

And the ACD is 20". Do I need a dual-link adaptor? I'm currently using it on a Power Mac G5 with a standard looking DVI cable, but previously used it with a mDP>DVI with my MBP.
You're good to go with the displayPort to DVI adapter. It's the 30" ACD that needs the expensive adapter with active electronics.

The 2012 model has upgradable RAM, as well as HDD, and has been showing back up in the apple refurb store a few times these last couple weeks. The 4GB 2.5Ghz i5 model was there just 4 days ago, and only $409. Apple Refurbs come with a warranty, and you get add AppleCare for 3 years protection.

That said, The 2014 2.6 model would be good too just make sure you order it with enough RAM as you can't add that later.

On either model, you can replace the hard drive with an SSD if you are so inclined.
 

davidg4781

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Oct 28, 2006
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So I went to look up the HDD upgrade process on the 2011 and 2012 minis and it looks to be pretty intensive. I've built my own PCs previously and upgraded RAM and HDDs on my old MB and MBP. Are the minis pretty easy once you get your hands on them?

I set up an alert on refurb.me and I may try for the 2012. If not there's someone selling a 2011 on here, but I'd rather get a 2012 for around the same price but with a warranty.
 

D.T.

macrumors G3
Sep 15, 2011
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I might have a 2012 up for sale soon (I already have a feeler thread, just waiting on a couple of offline folks to decide). It's a mint '12 i5 2.5GHz, 500GB HDD, can be configured with either 4GB (OEM) or 16GB (3rd party) of RAM, includes the original box, power, video adapter.
 

davidg4781

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Oct 28, 2006
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Alice, TX
Ok, so here's another issue. This may have been addressed on another thread but I'm trying to keep all my stuff here.

The 1.4 GHz on Apple's site, new, is $499. I think it Turbo Boosts to 2.7 GHz. Now, I'm looking at a game, let's say Sim City 4 which requires a 2.2 GHz CPU. Will this mini work for this? I know the boost on the new rMBs are for like seconds of usage, if that, but those machines don't have any active cooling. The mini has a fan to help keep things cool.

I'm not saying I'll buy that game but I do want to make sure I won't have any issues like that down the road. It was rough enough not being able to play Who Framed Roger Rabbit because I only had an 8 Mhz 286. I'm not doing that again.
 

MikeArtworks

macrumors regular
Jun 1, 2015
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Ok, so here's another issue. This may have been addressed on another thread but I'm trying to keep all my stuff here.

The 1.4 GHz on Apple's site, new, is $499. I think it Turbo Boosts to 2.7 GHz. Now, I'm looking at a game, let's say Sim City 4 which requires a 2.2 GHz CPU. Will this mini work for this? I know the boost on the new rMBs are for like seconds of usage, if that, but those machines don't have any active cooling. The mini has a fan to help keep things cool.

I'm not saying I'll buy that game but I do want to make sure I won't have any issues like that down the road. It was rough enough not being able to play Who Framed Roger Rabbit because I only had an 8 Mhz 286. I'm not doing that again.
It will work, performance would not be great as simcity is super cpu intensive, and not sure how the mini's fan is, so not sure if it has to throttle.

It can do turbo boost for longer than a few seconds, but even the game would run at 1.4 ghz. just slower.

Also, the retina macbook pro's do have fans actually. My 13 inch rMBP has 1 fan, and the 15 inches have 2 fans. [EDIT: Just saw you meant new retina MacBooks. Those indeed have no fans and will have to throttle down a lot, so no high performance on games like simcity/cities skylines]

I personally don't think the Mac mini will do many games good. The integrated graphics on the 2012 edition (hd 4000) are pretty bad for gaming too.

That's why I went with a 5k retina iMac with dedicated gpu.

- Mike
 

davidg4781

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Oct 28, 2006
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Alice, TX
...


I'd go for anything 2009+, preferably a 2012 due to the presence of Thunderbolt, USB 3, while still having the options of upgradability and expandability.

I know, I'm selling it very cheap... and she's wanting to buy it. I told her I'd give it to her but she was having none of that, that's just the type of person she is. When she asked how much it was worth I gave her a very low price.
 

Dark Void

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Jun 1, 2011
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I know, I'm selling it very cheap... and she's wanting to buy it. I told her I'd give it to her but she was having none of that, that's just the type of person she is. When she asked how much it was worth I gave her a very low price.
A likely story.

Just messing around ;) but I would definitely get a 2012 if you can find a good buy. They had quad core CPU options as well which I forgot to mention.
 

davidg4781

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Oct 28, 2006
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Alice, TX
I figured.

I found a few on CL but they're a bit high, especially considering I may be able to snag a refurbed one for ~$400 from Apple. I wouldn't mind spending more, but I have a feeling USB-C is coming to more Macs soon and I'd rather not miss out on that. Looking at the CLs one, I get to thinking for just a bit more I can buy a new one, then a bit more I can get an iMac, then a retina iMac. Terrible road to go down!
 

Dark Void

macrumors 68030
Jun 1, 2011
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I figured.

I found a few on CL but they're a bit high, especially considering I may be able to snag a refurbed one for ~$400 from Apple. I wouldn't mind spending more, but I have a feeling USB-C is coming to more Macs soon and I'd rather not miss out on that. Looking at the CLs one, I get to thinking for just a bit more I can buy a new one, then a bit more I can get an iMac, then a retina iMac. Terrible road to go down!
The newer models are more than okay if the dual-core is all you need. I use a dual-core 2012 as my daily computer.
 

grcar

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Sep 28, 2014
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The 2012 model has upgradable RAM, as well as HDD, and has been showing back up in the apple refurb store a few times these last couple weeks. The 4GB 2.5Ghz i5 model was there just 4 days ago, and only $409.
Good luck with that. There was one dual-core model for $409 and all the rest were quad-core models for several hundred more.
 

davidg4781

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Oct 28, 2006
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Alice, TX
It seems like any used ones are going to be around $450-$550. I new 2.6GHz is $700, and even though I can't upgrade the RAM I don't think I'd need more than 8 GB.

I'm a little tempted to do this. I have an older ACD and Magic Mouse. I also won't have to worry about buying something that could have issues later on.

Now I'm wondering if the fusion drive is worth the extra $200. Or should I just do $300 extra and get the 2.8GHz model?

For my use, I'm just going to be doing some video editing for a short period (transferring VHS to DVD) and game playing.
 

davidg4781

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Oct 28, 2006
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Alice, TX
I know. I'm just thinking, for a bit more, I can have a brand new Mac.

This is why I hate buying things. Looks like I can get the 2.6GHz stock for $657 with employee discount.
 
Last edited:

grcar

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Sep 28, 2014
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I can have a brand new Mac. Looks like I can get the 2.6GHz stock for $657 with employee discount.
Yes, given your level of indecision, you should buy the brand-new mid-model for $699 less any discount. Apple spends a lot of time deciding how to equip these machines so I think it will work out well. The upgrade to a dual-core i7 cpu is not worth it. A 1TB disk is standard and larger than you will ever need; if you still have the machine a couple of years from now you can always put in a big flash storage unit for less than they cost now. The fusion drive is not worth it. The only thing you cannot upgrade versus the 2012 models is the memory, but this one comes with 8GB.
 

davidg4781

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Oct 28, 2006
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Alice, TX
That's what I'm thinking. I'm also factoring the cost of buying used one, either shipping, or me driving about 2 hours each way to pick it up.